I love the internet, some of the time. It is great when I need an answer to some random question, I need to order a part for the car, or want to connect with friends that live far away. I do not love the internet when it doesn’t work properly! Where we live, out here in the country, we do experience some issues at times. When we do, I find myself sitting in front of my computer, watching the little wheel go round and round, while I nervously hit the “refresh” button over and over. As much as I feel that this should resolve the issue, it rarely does so.
It just got me thinking the other day, as I was hitting the refresh button again, that not only does the computer sometimes seem to get “stuck” trying to load or complete the requested task, but so do we!
I have noticed in our spiritual lives that we often start out well with great fervor and excellent intention. We have such grand plans about learning, and growing and moving forward to do all that God has given us to mature us in Christ. However, we begin to suffer from a bit of a “connectivity” issue with God and we lose our drive and commitment.
Maybe it is because we can’t see our progress like we had hoped that we would. Maybe someone said something that was not intended to be harsh, but it discouraged us greatly. Perhaps we just misunderstood how challenging it can be to maintain spiritual disciplines, and we became tired from the effort. However we got there, we can often end up in a situation where we seem to be able to make no forward progression. The little wheel is just spinning in circles… but no new info is being loaded!
Time to hit the refresh button! Here are 3 things to try when you feel like you are stuck in a spiritual condition that is not fully loading…
- CHANGE A DAILY HABIT – We often subconsciously build poor habits. We don’t think about how we can build a new habit that erodes our spiritual lives – it just happens. But as God’s people, we need to be more active, and not just “let things happen.” I Cor. 9:25-27 – We need to “run the race with determination.” Maybe we need to spend a little more conscious time in prayer each day. Reading God’s word daily is something that would also bless us. Maybe we have been neglecting things that feed our souls and have replaced them with things that eat at us like television, Facebook, or talk radio. We often can even pick people in our lives that keep us irritated and angry as they tell us what other people said or create some drama as a part of their every day life. Choose to break these bad habits! We need to stop waiting for the world to foster a deeper spiritual life in us and we need to become an active part of what God is wanting to do in us.
- SPEND SOME TIME THINKING – We live in a world that is constantly distracting us. Noise and music and constant activity can keep us unfocused and unsteady. We often live through a day only to look back on it and think, “What did I even do today?” I believe this is the work of our enemy, trying to make us unproductive so that we do not accomplish good things in our work, family, or our lives. But, God has a different plan for His people! There is much scripture that tells us we need to do something that is almost unheard of in this world – THINK! We might call it meditating. Psalm 1 tells us that the blessed man “meditates day and night on the law of the Lord.” It means thinking about something long enough to actually learn from it and allow it to change us. In order to do this we need quiet, calm times when we just don’t have any noise happening around us. We need times like this. Jesus would actively choose to leave the crowds, stop ministering to people and go be alone. I think that He was doing more than isolating himself. He was showing us what we need as well. He was teaching us how to have a closer relationship with the Father. We need it more than ever.
- VERBALLY COMMIT TO DO SOMETHING UNCOMFORTABLE FOR YOU – As human beings, we naturally seek our own comfort. While we might have big ideas for what we want to do at some point in the future, we often put off doing it because it makes us uncomfortable. Teaching a class at church, participating in worship, attending a personal Bible study, or leading one – these are some of the kinds of things that many Christians always thought they would do one day, but just never have. In scripture, particularly the Old Testament, people had to commit to covenants and agreements in front of all the people (friends, family and neighbors). This was for the basic purpose of accountability. God wanted the other folks in their lives to remind them of what they had agreed to do. If we are going to try some things that will stretch and grow us, we should be willing to tell others, “Hey, sign me up to teach a class soon.” Add your name to a group that is starting a Bible study. Volunteer to serve the church in some way that you never have before. Push yourself. You will be glad you did.
In addition to these 3, you may have other methods you can think of that would help you get “unstuck” from your spot and grow again. Whatever it is, do it today! Or, as soon as possible.
We need to not let our world distract us from accomplishing great growth and forward movement in the kingdom.
Let’s get growing again.